The Yankees turn to CC Sabathia to save their season

Associated Press

The Yankees have been down 0-2 in seven-game playoff series a bunch of times. Heck, on four of those occasions they won the dang World Series. If Yankees fans are despairing on this Monday, they just need to think back to 1996, 1978, 1958 or 1956 and realize that all is not yet lost.

Going down 0-3, though? That can’t happen.

To be sure, it’s not completely unheard of for a team to come back from an 0-3 deficit in a seven-game playoff series. The Yankees bore witness to that when the 2004 Boston Red Sox did it. The other 34 teams that have found themselves in that position, however, have all gone on to lose. As such, it’s not crazy to say that, if the Yankees lose to the Houston Astros tonight and fall to 0-3 in the ALCS, their season is basically over.

Lucky for them they have their stopper on the mound.

It’s been a few years since CC Sabathia has been thought of as an ace, but he has been a stopper. As Christian Red of the New York Daily News noted yesterday, Sabathia took the hill ten times following a Yankees loss in 2017. In those starts he went 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA. I don’t think certain pitchers have some supernatural ability to be better after their team loses — Sabathia himself is on record saying that he doesn’t approach such starts any differently — but there certainly has to be value in having been around enough and in enough big situations that they don’t faze you. Sabathia may or may not win, but he isn’t gonna be fazed tonight.

Sabathia is not a horse anymore, and Joe Girardi has been relatively quick to pull him. Sometimes too quick, arguably, as was the case in Game 2 of the ALDS when he was cruising against the Indians before the team’s wheels fell off. But he’s been effective for the Yankees, pitching  into the sixth inning of that start and allowing two runs in four and a third innings in Game 5. Again, not acelike stuff, but in an era where quick hooks are the norm in postseason play rather than the exception, it’s good enough. Especially when with the strong Yankees bullpen.

Run prevention isn’t exactly the Yankees biggest problem, though. The powerful Astros offense has come up big in a couple of key spots, obviously, but they’ve only scored four runs in their two wins. That’s been enough given the dominant starts from Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander.  What the Yankees really need their moribund bats to wake up. So far in this series New York is hitting a meager .159 (10-for-63) with 27 strikeouts, four walks and 16 total bases. Aaron Judge is 1-for-7 with three strikeouts in the ALCS and 2-for-27 with 19 strikeouts in the ALDS and ALCS combined. Gary Sanchez is 0-for-7 in this series and 4-for-30 since the wild-card game, going hitless in his last 12 at-bats.

Luckily for them they face Charlie Morton tonight and not a Cy Young-caliber starter. Morton started Game 4 of ALDS, allowing two runs on seven hits in four and a third innings. The Red Sox made him work in that game, seeing 83-pitches. The Yankees will want to be patient against him too so that they can get into the Astros’ little-used bullpen. For what it’s worth, Morton has seen the Yankees twice this year, going 1-1 with a 5.68 ERA.

Whether it’s a big game from Sabathia or a big game from their offense, the Yankees need something to go right for them tonight. Only elimination games are literally must-win games, but if they lose tonight they’ll be staring a virtually insurmountable 0-3 deficit in the face. As such tonight is, for all practical purposes, a must-win affair.

New bill to build Athletics stadium on Las Vegas Strip caps Nevada’s cost at $380 million

D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

CARSON CITY, Nev. — A bill introduced in the Nevada Legislature would give the Oakland Athletics up to $380 million for a potential 30,000 seat, $1.5 billion retractable roof stadium on the Las Vegas Strip.

The bulk of the public funding would come from $180 million in transferable tax credits from the state and $120 million in county bonds, which can vary based on interest rate returns. Clark County also would contribute $25 million in credit toward infrastructure costs.

The A’s have been looking for a home to replace Oakland Coliseum, where the team has played since arriving from Kansas City for the 1968 season. The team had sought to build a stadium in Fremont, San Jose and finally the Oakland waterfront, all ideas that never materialized.

The plan in the Nevada Legislature won’t directly raise taxes. It can move forward with a simply majority vote in the Senate and Assembly. Lawmakers have a little more than a week to consider the proposal before they adjourn June 5, though it could be voted on if a special session is called.

The Athletics have agreed to use land on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, where the Tropicana Las Vegas casino resort sits. Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao has said he is disappointed the team didn’t negotiate with Oakland as a “true partner.”

Las Vegas would be the fourth home for a franchise that started as the Philadelphia Athletics from 1901-54. It would become the smallest TV market in Major League Baseball and the smallest market to be home to three major professional sports franchises.

The team and Las Vegas are hoping to draw from the nearly 40 million tourists who visit the city annually to help fill the stadium. The 30,000-seat capacity would make it the smallest MLB stadium.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said a vote on the Oakland Athletics’ prospective move to Las Vegas could take place when owners meet June 13-15 in New York.

The plan faces an uncertain path in the Nevada Legislature. Democratic leaders said financing bills, including for the A’s, may not go through if Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo vetoes the five budget bills, which he has threatened to do as many of his priorities have stalled or faded in the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

Under the bill, the Clark County Board of Commissioners would create a homelessness prevention and assistance fund along the stadium’s area in coordination with MLB and the Nevada Resort Association. There, they would manage funds for services, including emergency rental and utility assistance, job training, rehabilitation and counseling services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

The lease agreement with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority would be up for renewal after 30 years.

Nevada’s legislative leadership is reviewing the proposal, Democratic state Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager said in a statement.

“No commitment will be made until we have both evaluated the official proposal and received input from interested parties, including impacted community members,” Yeager said.